Disney Sued for Harassment by ‘Muppets’ Editor

Disney Sued Harassment 'Muppets' Editor

Assistant film editor alleges editor asked her invasive questions

A first assistant film editor on “The Muppets” has filed a wrongful termination suit against Disney, alleging discrimination and harassment against the Mouse House and editor James Thomas.

The suit, filed on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that Cecilia Hyoun “was subjected to differential treatment because of her gender, family responsibilities, her race and age.” Court docs describe Hyoun as “an Asian woman over age 40.”

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Hyoun is asking for unspecified damages to be determined by the court. According to legal docs, Hyoun received a right-to-sue letter after lodging a formal complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Hyoun began work on the “Muppets” in 2010, according to Monday’s filing, and expected to stay on the film through its completion in late 2011 (Hyoun asserts that she turned down a job offer at Paramount because she was assured of her employment by Disney). But Hyoun says she was fired in June of that year after Disney, through Thomas, repeatedly “grilled” her about choosing between work and family responsibilities. Hyoun also claims that Thomas asked her invasive personal questions that made her uncomfortable — questions she says he did not ask of male employees. In addition, Hyoun alleges that Thomas referred to another female employee in derogatory terms.

Disney was not immediately available for comment.

Hyoun, who is repped by Carol Gillam of L.A.-based Gillam Law Firm, has worked on numerous other films including “Hot Tub Time Machine,” “Semi-Pro” and “Vanilla Sky.”

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  1. Dexx says:

    I’ve worked in post production for 14 years and if any of the people who commented negative things about this woman had any clue how it is, they would shut up pretty fast.
    I almost got fired once because I only did 27 hours of unpaid overtime 5 weeks after my son was born. That is how it is in most studios.

  2. Lori says:

    “because of her gender, family responsibilities, her race and age.”

    Nice. Sounds like she covered all the bases with this one.

  3. kodian girl says:

    You’re so cool! I do not suppose I have read through something like this before. So wonderful to discover somebody with original thoughts on this issue. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is one thing that’s needed
    on the web, someone with some originality!

  4. Valerie says:

    I used to be an asst. editor in Hollywood and totally believe this. Sex harassment and discrimination is rampant. It’s so pervasive, blatant and overt that if I shared the details, most would not even believe me. On top of it all, it mostly goes unreported and unpunished because the industry is so competitive. When I share with others what people have said or done to me, they can hardly believe it and chuck it off as sour grapes. It’s that audacious and shameless. I never complained because it was a man’s world and I wasn’t about to play clean up when I was just trying to scrap by and get ahead.

  5. Mel_and_Dani says:

    This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. She didn’t do her job and got fired and now she’s trying to get money for nothing. Please. Grow up and get a new job.

  6. Charlie A says:

    Hope someone will put a a stop to the abusive management at Disney.

  7. CppThis says:

    Sounds like another BS whiner lawsuit to me, but given that Disney has spent the last 30 years crapping all over US copyright law in their quest for free money at everyone else’s expense I don’t really have a lot of sympathy for them.

  8. Bob The Builder says:

    Blip, if she was repeatitively missing work because of her family, her boss had every right to be asking questions. I’m sick of anyone man or woman who gets butt hurt hen they get fired or poor work performance. Why sue the people who are getting the job done and making sure their employees are putting in hard work, day after day. If you aren’t giving your boss the time of day why should he allow you to keep working for him? Haven’t heard the full story but it already sounds like she is butt hurt that she got fired, because she could have taken another job if she had known that her absense from work would get her fired.

  9. Tag says:

    Also, I forgot to mention there are a lot of women who are in high up positions at Disney.

  10. Tag says:

    OK having worked for Disney, one thing that I’m not getting from this article is why didn’t she file a formal complaint within the company? In my experience there is no way Disney would tolerate that, they take these things very serious. That said, I don’t know how many times I’ve worked on a project and not been there to the end, it is the nature of the business. I’d like to see more details, right now there is only one side to the story and that seems incomplete. I guess when it comes to legal matters not everything will be divulged

  11. Annie Kirkley says:

    I actually agree with you Pork Fried! I am a female & I worked on 2 Muppet movies as an Assistant Editor years ago during my active years as an Asst. Editor. Working as a crew member on any movie is not for the faint of heart – it’s an equal opportunity environment & the goal is to work hard, smart & efficient. To be fair to this woman, I don’t know exactly what she endured, but if she is expecting anyone to tip-toe around her and cater to her because she’s a female then she’s in the wrong business.

    • blip says:

      Yeah, that’s the whole problem, isn’t it, Annie and Pork: We don’t know the whole story here. What I’m seeing is that her uppers were asking her a bunch of very personal, invasive questions along the lines of “Why aren’t you at home looking after your kids? After all, that’s all women are good for!”, while you two brilliant “insiders” are seeing “tiptoeing.” Just once I’d like to see a harassment suit focused on a man who’s being “all sensitive” because his boss was asking him why he didn’t “man up” and be a decent father. This isn’t about “payback” for the “ladies,” Pork, who are daring– oh, the horror!– of trying to invade a “man’s field”: it’s about the freedom not to be treated like a piece of meat, a brood sow, or an idiot when you’re simply trying to do your job. I’m single, female, child-free, and pushing fifty… and if this story were about me, it would be describing how that “cranky old editor” (“cranky old b*tch” to you, Pork, I’m sure) lost her job because she hauled off and popped her boss in the nose for asking one too many stupid, sexist questions when she was trying to work. Oh, and Annie, you might want to check your history: film editing has long been a field in which women have excelled without being “catered to” (the fact that you said “cater to” actually makes me doubt that you’re a woman yourself. Hiya, troll!). Thelma Schoonmaker, anyone…? Short form, kids: if the “big man” is asking invasive, personal questions of the ladies, but not of the gents, or is otherwise acting like a Neanderthal toward the ladies (but not toward the gents), it’s not an “equal-opportunity environment.” Feel free to join the twenty-first century, already in progress….

  12. Anonymous Commenter says:

    I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that such a major corporation like Disney treats its women employees (or is it the fact that they are foreign? That makes it even sadder…) with such disrespect, or that there are actually people who defend such practices and support sexism like that…

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